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We dedicate January to giallo and honor a genre master, Mario Bava, an influential innovator whose work defined 1970s Italian horror.

Mario Bava Blood and Black Lace


I celebrate Giallo January (or Giallouary) by talking about a couple of films from giallo master Mario Bava, The Girl Who Knew Too Much (1963) and Blood and Black Lace (1964). 


Mario Bava (1914 – 1980) was an Italian filmmaker who worked as a director, screenwriter, cinematographer, and special effects artist. He’s known as the “Master of Italian Horror” and the “Master of the Macabre”.

His work is said to have influenced Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino, and Francis Ford Coppola. He’s also credited with indirectly starting the slasher film craze of the 1980s.

Considered to be the first-ever giallo film, Bava’s The Girl Who Knew Too Much is a 1963 thriller with elements of sexploitation and traditional horror tropes. The plot revolves around a young woman named Nora, who travels to Rome and witnesses a murder. The police and Dr. Bassi don’t believe her, since a corpse can’t be found. Several more murders follow, tied to a decade-long string of killings of victims chosen in alphabetical order.

The alternative cut, released in the United States and the United Kingdom as The Evil Eye features a score by Les Baxter, deletes several scenes, and adds others. This cut places a great emphasis on comedy compared to the Italian release.

Bava followed up this film with 1964’s Blood and Black Lace about the brutal murders of a Roman fashion house’s models, committed by a masked killer in a desperate attempt to obtain a scandal-revealing diary.

Critics cite this film as an evolution of Bava’s style, combining elements of contemporary West German murder mystery films with eroticism and violence present in popular fiction of the time. The film’s exagerrated use of color photography and eschewing of a traditional mystery in favor of a focus on set pieces of graphic murder would become staples of the giallo form.


I’m talking about the genre films that have arrived to usher in 2024 on the big and small screen. A haunted pool, a neighbor from Hell, a co-worker on a killing spree, and an H.P. Lovecraft sex romp. Is this an auspicious start to a new year of horror?

We also kick off Giallo January by recommending some great streaming picks to start your year off in style.


Donna Tha Dead

Donna Tha Dead is a podcast for lovers of horror, cult classics, and other genres of cinemas. Your host, Donna, is a confirmed ghost story and horror film addict.  To those that can hear Donna’s voice, she invites you to come hold her hand in the darkness and listen.

New episodes typically post every other week, and you can listen right here on or wherever you get your favorite podcasts.

You can connect with Donna on Instagram and Twitter @donna_tha_dead.

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